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Howells the Hero in Tigers Late Show

Hexagon Telford Tigers returned to home ice after a terrific comeback in their opening game of the playoffs. Tigers seemed down and out after falling behind to Raiders by two goals late in the game in Romford. But a four goal burst in the final three minutes saw the Shropshire side earn a valuable win and get two points on the board.

Tigers remained without Connor Lee, Lucas Price and Aidan Wilson and knew that with games to come against the top two seeds in the group – Milton Keynes and Swindon Wildcats – a home win was vital.

The opening period of the game was fast paced and scrappy and saw only one goal.  Jesse Sutton put Tigers ahead after good work from Jaden Peca won the puck behind the Raiders’ goal and the puck broke free for Sutton to fire into the open net. Tigers almost doubled their lead shortly after when Tom Byrne shot from close range but a brilliant glove save by Ethan James in the Raiders’ goal denied the Telford forward a certain goal.

Tigers added a second goal six minutes into the second period. James Smith sent Sutton clear on goal and Sutton scored with a superb wrist shot into the top corner of the goal, over James’ glove.

An ill advised roughing penalty by Peca provided Raiders with a power play opportunity which they took when Adam Laishram scored with a wrap around goal.

Tigers were then indebted to Brad Day on a number of occasions for keeping them in the lead.

The third period saw both teams tiring after putting in significant effort over the weekend but Raiders levelled the game nine minutes from the end with a low shot from Marco Pascale.

With the game headed to overtime, some pushing and shoving between Jake Price and Corey Prevost saw them both get rouging penalties. But crucially Jake Sylvester was also given a roughing penalty as he got involved in the altercation meaning Telford would get a late power play chance. The home side took full advantage of the extra attacker with Peca and Scott McKenzie combining brilliantly to give Finn Howells an open net to shoot into and win the game.

Tigers’ win sets them up nicely for the next play off double header against Group B top seeds Milton Keynes next weekend.

Final Score: Hexagon Telford Tigers 3 Raiders 2.

Scorers: Jesse Sutton (2) and Fin Howells.

Man of the match: Jesse Sutton.

After the game Head Coach Tom Watkins, commented, “It was another very hard fought win and a tight defensive battle which went to the wire. 

Playoff hockey is different, you have to do the little things well, have a solid defensive mindset and like the previous game against Raiders, I thought our third period was exactly how we have to play to be successful. I thought we showed very good composure when Raiders scored and we managed the next shift well and stuck with the plan. 

When we didn’t capitalise on a power play chance with around six minutes to go I thought we might not get another chance but we then scored one of our best worked power play goals all year to win the game!  We showed excellent awareness and puck movement to seal back to back wins and it is a great start to secure four points from our opening two games.”

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